Supporting Families through COVID-19

On March 16, 2020, Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) responded to the impacts of COVID-19 by adjusting all parent engagement workshops to online classes and re-adapting parent engagement curriculum in real-time to respond to current school and academic needs. The COVID-19 crisis increased demand for our support. Most resources, applications, and information, as well as academic learning tools and school updates, are found online. While many parents have access to mobile technology, they have little to no skills navigating online resources. Very few online resources are translated or written simply with easy to follow instructions.

In response, PIQE began to reach out to all enrolled California families to support with online connectivity and navigation, bridge families to resources, and help families to re-engage and transition to distance learning. In the Bay Area, we found that many of the families we serve not only had little experience with technology and spotty to no internet coverage, many also had low literacy skills. Yet, our parents persisted. Through one-on-one coaching, families learned how to use their mobile phones to access resources and continue to take part in virtual workshops.

In San Rafael High School, the parent engagement workshops had just begun when the shelter in place orders was announced. A PIQE parent shared that although it was challenging, she didn’t see it as an obstacle but an opportunity to learn something new. Fifty-three San Rafael High School parents continued with virtual workshops and had an opportunity to also meet with San Rafael High School Glenn Dennis for a principal dialogue session. On May 5, parents will celebrate the completion of the workshop with a virtual graduation celebration.

At San Jose Intermediate School, with only three classes remaining, Principal Deborah Richardson and parents agreed to move forward with virtual classes despite challenges and the ever-changing impacts of COVID-19. Forty parents continued with weekly virtual gatherings which provided an opportunity for peer-to-peer support. Principal Deborah held a principal forum on week eight to provide up-to-date information and offer her personal support as parents began transitioning to distance learning. Forty parents completed the workshops and will be celebrating the completion virtually on May 14.